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Jenny Sabin Studio art installation ‘Purl’ lights up makers district beach at Reem island

Jenny Sabin Studio ; IMKAN’s philosophy of ‘placemaking’

Abu Dhabi Makers District on Reem Island – Abu Dhabi’s mixed-use hub that has been designed to accentuate the lifestyle qualities of creators, innovators and entrepreneurs – has enhanced its developer IMKAN’s philosophy of ‘placemaking’ with a stunning new art installation.

Created by world-renowned artist and designer, Jenny Sabin, the installation titled ‘Purl’ takes centre stage at the Makers District Beach to forge a memorable experience for residents and visitors to the area. Composed of thousands of digitally knitted and engineered fibre cells and conical forms, Purl weaves high technology into a captivating and enthralling design. The installation absorbs solar energy during the day and glows at night, its component of photoluminescent fibres illuminating once the sun has gone down.

Purl also features a canopy structure with a misting system that creates a micro-climate to help cool down visitors on hot and sunny days. The overall effect of the installation is one of a mesmerising environment that reacts to and is in tune with the ambient qualities of light that are experienced over a 24-hour period, its misting function adding to its aesthetic allure through the rainbow hues that are thrown out when sunlight plays on the fine water spray.

“IMKAN’s philosophy is one of ‘placemaking’ which emphasises creating an active environment for residents and visitors and Jenny Sabin’s Purl installation is a perfect representation of this ideal. We were keen to commission Jenny and her studio for the project as her design philosophy aligns with our principles at IMKAN and this was the main impetus behind asking her to collaborate with us. We are delighted with the Purl installation which adds unique value to our development, as not only does it help to bring to life the creative and innovative spirit of the Makers District, it supports its ongoing evolution,” said Katayoun Lazar,  IMKAN’s Design Associate, Research and Development.

“Making art accessible in public spaces inspires creativity, community participation and public interaction. It generates aesthetic focal points and acts as a destination driver that enhances the experience of residents and visitors. Our research shows that integrating art and culture contributes significantly to local economic development and livability and this has been borne out by the wonderful responses we are enjoying with Purl,” she added.

“When IMKAN approached me to discuss the art project they were proposing for Makers District, I was immediately impressed by the clarity of their vision for how the installation should work as an innovative and interactive art piece that would facilitate unique and creative patterns of public use. They were as much interested in the process behind the design as they were the final product, which was inspiring from the beginning. As part of the research and design phase, this installation features an entirely new high tech responsive photoluminescent material employed for the first time in the canopy structure. We share similar visions in terms of bringing people together across all disciplines, so Purl has been designed to be a fusion of architecture, biology, material science, mathematics, engineering, and aesthetic form – I hope that it can further inspire creativity for everyone who interacts with it,” said Jenny Sabin, designer of Purl.

A vibrant and dynamic development along Reem Island’s picturesque waterfront, Makers District has been established as a home for discerning creatives, entrepreneurs, innovators and those with a strong sense of individualism. Located in a prime spot for artistic inspiration, Makers District is just a short distance from some of the UAE capital’s famous cultural landmarks, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Scheduled for completion in 2021, Makers District will ultimately house a total of 3,700 units across the entire development, with a boutique hotel, co-working spaces and F&B outlets also included as part of its masterplan.

Jenny Sabin employs a research-based approach towards creating art and architecture installations of social, environmental and communal attributes. Experimenting with architecture and science and applying insights and theories from biology and mathematics, Jenny designs fabricates and produces material structures and spatial interventions that facilitate interactions between people and their environments.

As part of her affiliation with Cornell University, Jenny Sabin is Associate Professor and Associate Dean for the revered university’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning, working with the next generation of artistic architects. With her work featuring at MoMA and MoMA PS1 in NYC as well as across the globe in China, South Korea, France, the U.K., and Spain, Purl represents the first Jenny Sabin Studio installation in the region. It is envisaged that Purl will play an active role in the programming of Makers District Beach for a duration of up to two years.

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